For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.

- Mosiah 3:19

Friday, January 6, 2012

One day at a time...

Since I last "acted out" the play about my need for healthy intimacy through anonymous encounters with men, I've been sober. It has been nearly a week. While I'm chary about whether this change is lasting, I'm hopeful that it can be sustained at least until the end of today.

Last night, one guy I know wanted to come over and stay the night and cuddle. While it was very tempting and something I desired, to feel the warmth of his touch, his head on my chest, his arms around me - it is and has been unhealthy each time I have met this guy. The relationship is merely physical - his needs of healthy intimacy and mine are never met in this charade we put on, this play we act out, as if what we are doing is healthy and meets our deepest emotional and spiritual needs. When he leaves I feel incomplete; I'm sure he feels the same way. As I contemplated what his presence would do, I simply ignored his text messages and his phone call. I went to bed and woke up sexually sober.

Part of that sobriety came from a realization that I can be celibate as a gay man, even as a gay Mormon man. A good friend of mine who is not Mormon, but a former Catholic and gay told me how he had come to a point where he was prostituting himself to other men, shooting stuff up his veins, and considering doing meth when he realized his life was out of control. He told me that as he started a process of sexual recovery his life finally came into focus, he began to see with new eyes, he began to have a real relationship with God, but more importantly (for me) he realized he could be celibate as a gay man. He made the choice not because of any normative imperatives, but rather because he realized it was healthy for him to do so. Hearing that gave me some measure of strength.

As I pondered whether or not to "act out" this terrible play with this guy (who I've acted out with numerous times before), I paused and thought about what my friend said. That gave me the strength to ignore the text messages and to not answer his phone calls. I can be celibate for me. I don't have to do this because that is the only option the church has given me, I don't have to be celibate because that is the expectation; I can do it because it is healthy for me.

I wish I had the humility to learn from others. But so often I'll hear from guys younger than me who are at that moment committed to the gospel and full of answers and are in compliant with the law of chastity. I usually don't give them their due, in part because in my twenties, I was the same way. It seems the pattern is that most men are stellar in their "fight" against "acting on" their feelings during their twenties, they devote themselves to the church and appear for all intents and purposes happy. Yet, in their thirties many of them (not all) can't keep up with what they tried in their twenties, the struggle weighs heavier on them and they end up for the first time really exploring and attempting to embrace who they are - as they do so many of them end up leaving the church. In the late thirties and forties, many of them tend to return to the church different people, having a different relationship with God and themselves.

I tend to look for those older than me who have more experience in wrestling with God. I look to my former Catholic friend, he is in forties and see his wisdom. I've yet to find a good solid gay Mormon who has embraced who he is as a gay son of God. Perhaps one day I will. Until then, I will lean on people God puts in my way to learn how to be sober one day at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Hey there amigo. I can definitely understand where you are coming from. It seems that many of my friends are lost or unsure of where they are in the whole scheme of things. I respect those who are comfortable with their situation (whether in the church still or out). It is always good just to chat with people at times.

    This past week, I realized 2 close friends who are 'struggling' to cope with where they are (I feel we all are always somewhat struggling) with being gay. Both were different experiences, but it was good for them (and me) to know ... we're not alone.

    Keep it up, brotha.